Wellness Spotlight

Keeping The Fat Burning Machine Hydrated

With the warm weather upon us, I would like to focus on water and sports drinks and the benefits of staying hydrated. In hot weather we sweat a great deal when walking and hydration is key. On hot sunny days it is important to have enough fluids. Knowledge of what to drink and how much to drink is vital for your health and achieving your goals safely. Unless you are walking for an hour or more or live in a very hot climate, the normal daily intake of water is recommended at 6 to 8 glasses, approximately eight ounces in size, that doesn't include what you drink for your workout routine. In warm climates or longer walks or exercise sessions a sports drink / electrolyte beverage such as Gatorade. Lucozade (UK) or Powerade is possibly the way to go, but there are alternatives to these, such as a heavily diluted sports beverage,

When considering sports nutrition like fitness guru recommended, it's important to remember that roughly 60% of body weight is comprised of water. Various bodily functions use water, including absorption, circulation, excretion, digestion as well as tissue maintenance. Besides sweat, the human body loses water through urine, feces and even exhaling. The necessity of drinking the daily recommended intake should be undertaken as much as possible and become part of your routine. So don't just wait until you start sweating before you go for that glass of water.

Fruit and vegetables have high water content and have many benefits for the body including being high sources of fiber. All juices have high quantities of sugar and should be avoided for the most part. Drinks that aren't considered having the recommended water content include: tea, coffee and alcohol and caffeinated soft drinks.

Compared to water, sports drinks are expensive and for most walking activities the average person doesn't need them. If you are walking with more than an hour with intensity or in hot climates, sports drinks such as Gatorade do have there uses. Sports drinks contain both sodium and potassium, which help balance the scale of electrolytes, these contribute to the acidity and alkalinity of our blood cells.

The medical team for the University of Florida Gators, invented Gatorade in 1965 in a laboratory. It was designed to replenish the combination of water, electrolytes and carbohydrates that the school's athletes lost in sweat during exerting themselves in rigorous sport activities. Both the fluids and electrolytes the players lost through sweat were not being replaced, and the large amounts of carbohydrates the players' bodies used for energy were not being replenished.

So the rule of thumb is, if you are exercising longer than 60 minutes - or less but with intensity, you need a sports drink to get replenished. Water doesn't provide sodium, which helps the body retain water, thus aiding fluid to get to the parts of the body it needs such as the muscles. For those of us who walk or exercise less than an hour, there is very little need to replace electrolytes with sports drinks. The small quantities of minerals lost through exercise can be made up by having a balanced, nutritious diet .

Personally, I only buy “Smart” water in a bottle once a month or so. When I have drunk it, I just fill it up with filtered tap water and it lasts me, so I don't have to keep throwing out plastic bottles, making it easy on the environment. It has a handy cap and is great for the car, work, anywhere.

One of the by-products of having a special sports drink is sugar. It is far better to make your own flavored sports drink using fruit or juice that you may have in your refrigerator. This can include adding a quarter to a third of orange juice to your water. With sparkling water you can add squeezed lime or lemon to flavor it. At the end of the day it is difficult to beat the benefits of good old fashioned water!